So I've been hearing all kinds of shit about Huraki Murakami and I've been bored of western writers lately. Is he worth reading?
nvm this guys OP.
Murakami isn't gold but he isn't that bad at all. We can't judge his style because of translations. That being said, his themes are quite repetitive. You may have one or two novels by him and that should be enough for you to get what he is into.
Also, if you are tired of western authors go read some Mishima, Kawabata or Soseki (I don't like Soseki, but many people do), I am sure they are more interesting than Murakami.
he lacks substance and depth of insight, preferring instead to mix and match the same set of ideas, themes, characters, settings, and plot devices (google murakami bingo) to create a vague sense of strangeness/alienation that is nevertheless familiar/relatable enough to his readership. the result is a neverending stream of the same book that gets propped up by middlebrow pseuds who see something that seems strange and "literary" and "foreign" and "sophisticated" (helped by his japanese name) that they can nevertheless understand, and feel good about appreciating a "difficult" and "obscure" author.
his prose is deficient and he himself admits his books read better in english than in japanese, and he panders to the western idea of what asian literature entails without saying anything insightful or genuine about anything.
Read him and enjoy him for two or three books. Experience an identity crisis of sorts, brought on by the thought of all the non-reading dilettantes enjoying the same books as you. Latch on to the waning enthusiasm you feel due to repetitive themes, characters etc. and adopt a thoroughly negative opinion of the books. Disregard Murakami as a serious author. Congratulations, you made it. Now feel free to babble about middlebrows and pseuds and lack of insight. Continue to read him occasionally, though in a detached manner.
Start with a wild sheep chase. Then if you are itneresed in the story of the sheepman, read dance dance dance and then you can read anything by him from here
His best work are between The end of the world and wind up bird
The thing about Murakami in english, is that his books often don't have whole chapters and they change needlessly the way characters talk.
I don't know how many people here read him in spanish but I d because it translates so well.
I don't know where that guy read it, but Murakami even writes it in his preface of the english translation of Hear the Wind Sing/Pinball.
Anyway, I agree that Murakami is low tier, I like him, but he's not sophisticated by any means. He relentlessly fails to develop his themes and whatever fantastic elements he does incorporate (ones he keeps on regurgitating in his novels) never represent anything besides the most obvious expectations, or are intentionally ambiguous and never clarified, making the introduction of unusual/fantasy occurrences a cheap effect.
reading norwegian wood now, and its so fucking tiresome. he literally describes everything he sees (in the exactly same way, mind you) in an effort to find meaning in something, because you can tell murakami hasn't a clue of what he's actually trying to say, he's just shooting in every direction in the hopes of getting lucky and saying something vaguely meaningful
>he defends murakami
>he says it's "fun"
>calls other people redditors
>desperately pretending he's not a redditor
>is obviously a redditor
bingo. it's coelho-tier vagueness that lets every middle aged housewife/illiterate college hipster project whatever interpretation and meaning he/she/it wants to into the text, thus achieving the illusion of "deepness" and insight to the pleb masses
I'm reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki right now and I think it's very insightful and relatable. My first experience with his writing was a short story called "The Ice Man" supposedly based off a dream his wife had. As for the criticism of repetition in his books, I can't really say how I feel about that until I've read another novel of his.
Thats the only Murakami novel I've read so far. Apparently its nothing like his other books. I thought it was ok but nothing special.
I got about a third of the way through Dance Dance Dance but never finished it.
I'd add The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle to that list.
I think Norwegian wood as bad as it may be pretty much resumes the themes of like half of his other books, so if your'e interested on having a taste of what they are like it's a good choice to start.
I liked the anime adaptation of End of the World better actually
She writes like a college freshman, heavy with pointless dialog and meaningless scenes that show off how bored or disaffected the (usually female) protagonist is. Her stuff would probably work better as manga, to be honest. There's just way too much dialog and rumination for it to read well.
I was sorely disappointed after reading The Lake, since I heard it had elements of things I like (disaffected female protagonist, art versus consumerism, Aum Shinrikyo analogs), but I got some stupid college girl wanting to fuck the least attractive beta male in the world and ruminating on her dead mother for 350 pages before an infodump about 20 pages long explained hastily the guy's issues and ended abruptly.
Murakami makes boredom a total new gendre of novel. Not in the bad way.
If you are a person that doesen't care if he gets bored (has things to do while waiting to do your next thing) Murakami is a great writter.
I personally recomend starting with colorless tsukuru tazaki and his years of pilgrimage.
That book is awesome and always gets me when I finish reading it
I've only read pic related and honestly i loved it. are his other books not like it
I know that all of /lit/ isn't one person, but this is the very board that overwhelmingly praised Murakami and got me interested in reading his novels. Now all of a sudden everybody hates him?
Be honest, /lit/. It's because he's getting more popular, right?
idk but i've been bashing murakami on /lit/ since the board was launched
it's mostly because when this board launched it was the same as r/books, where people jerk it over game of thrones and kingkiller and 1984, and from the perspective of someone reading those books, murakami probably seemed very literary. now that people here read (or at least meme about reading) "real" literature murakami is pretty shitty in comparison.
soseki yes, murakami no
murakami is not a japanese writer. he is, mostly deliberately, working outside of the japanese literary tradition. there is no reason to enter the japanese canon through murakami.
i can't read :)
in any case i don't recommend mishima as a starting point either because his importance in japanese literature is overstated by /lit/, partly due to his hilarious life story/beliefs.
mishima is very much a "fringe" author, in the sense that he went in a horizontal direction from the relatively linear tradition that encompasses soseki, tanizaki, and kawabata, and to a lesser extent akutagawa. mishima reacted to western influence/WWII/american occupation in a way that's starkly different from most of his predecessors and peers (like kawabata). I think it's more helpful to be somewhat familiar with other Japanese authors before going into Mishima to see how he differs and contrasts.
its sound very tumblr, but it resonated with me kinda well. i get that many could find it boring but idk i could never get into his surreal stuff but the characters in this felt very real
>no tradition of laugh here, murakami best joke in japan, we laugh, we laugh lots of laugh
I just finished Wind-up Bird and would probably rank it among my all time favorite novels.
I understand why some wouldn't like it, but I loved it.
not sure what to read next. Kafka on the Shore seems like it's going to be next on my list just for how much praise it receives. I'm really interested in Hard-Boiled Wonderland just because the title sounds cool as hell and the premise is neat but I've heard it's it's pretty basic?
and for anyone else who's read Wind-up, what exactly was Okada doing in the hanging house with Nutmeg and Cinnamon? that whole section of the book threw me off to the point of re-reading sections in fear that I skipped something.
He is very repetitive, and I do get annoyed that he seems to milk the same cow over and over now, but look at it this way: if he had written Hard-boiled Wonderland and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and then dropped dead, he would be considered a cult classic, no doubt about it. The latter even won the Yomiuri prize with Kenzaburo Oe as part of the jury.
People only shit on him because he didn't evolve, and they're partially right to do so, but when he dies and time passes and his body of work is condensed to the essentials by the collective unconscious, he'll go down as the author of 3-4 very worthwhile books.
Soseki and Kawabata are indeed a good intro to the japanese modern canon, along with Tanizaki and Oe. After you're done with those, there's you fringe authors —Mishima, Dazai, Abe. They're not worse or anything, but their connections to the "tradition" are conflicting.
Osamu Dazai's a really great writer
he wrote a super depressing book about an alienated, suicidal guy losing it, called No Longer Human
on the other end of things, he wrote a warm/fuzzy book about how everything gets better, called Schoolgirl
he's also rewritten a bunch of ancient Japanese fairy tales for modern audiences
super diverse Japanese writer from a post-WW2 scene that was basically the Japanese equivalent of the American Beat scene - he and his friends were also super controversial because they were outspoken anti-nationalists/fascists
then he killed himself
I am familiar with all of this that you have sought to capture within your post. I was not familiar with Schoolgirl but other than that I've honestly never heard of Dazai being compared to the Beats.Some more flow charts would be nice to get opinions on a supposed "reading order/pathway" which would be best to develop my understanding of the artist's works.
It was a continuation of the work nutmeg was doing in akasaka. Nutmeg got him to work for her, okada got to use the well in return. I imagine there was a chapter explaining it more in depth that got cut in the adaptation (the biggest issue with the English translations).
Once you have pumped and dumped a bunch of pussy you learn that everything you though about having girlfriends as a teenager aren't true. In between relationships I can go for a couple of years of not wanting or looking for one.
Also I've found the best way to get laid or a gf is to be in situations where you get to meet people while not caring about or trying to get laid. Girls love it when you are confident that you don't need pussy.
Going for writers earlier than Soseki and Akutagawa I can't really help you. I mean there are a couple of giants but it's a whole different world of literature that is just alien to the west. Those authors I mentioned are really the whose who of 20th century fiction. Except for maybe Endo who isn't so big but as a Japanese Catholic, and with all of his novels being about some interplay between Japan and the west I think he is a really good read for a westerner trying to understand Japan.
Oh I also forgot to add Dazai to that list.
I think it's the other way around and you and many other people are under the impression that there's magic at the end of the rainbow if you just try hard enough and therefore you get caught up in this 'romantic love is the answer to everything' narrative for no good actual reason beside it being pushed onto you constantly.
It's a fairly recent meme actually.
Relationships require a hell of a lot of work and you happiness is now contingent on your partners happiness as well. It is far better to be single than be in a bad relationship and a good relationship isn't easy. Also if you aren't happy being in a relationship won't change it or even help.
If only John Green had the balls to inject some weird, dreamlike situations in his novels, though. I will agree that Murakami's prose (at least in translation) feels very YA-like. I read Sputnik Sweetheart a few weeks ago, and was about to drop it after 50 pages because of how immature it made me feel, as though I was reading a book for 12-year-olds, but then the """surreal""" shit started kicking in, and I began to enjoy the ride
OP, the biggest issue of Murakami is that his books pretty much just rely on plotting. All the characters are the same in his books, as are the themes and the tones, so it's really just a matter of what plot you want to follow, picking from cyberpunk/fairytale combo (Hard-Boiled Wonderland), modern Japanese Oedipus with a Colonel Sanders ghost (Kafka on the Shore), lesbians that disappear into mirror universes (Sputnik Sweetheart), some chick's sister falling into a coma while her dreams or something manifest in real life (After Dark), sticking your dick in crazy (Norwegian Wood), or
false accusations of rape(Colorless Tsukuru). Haven't read the Sheepman tetralogy or Wind-Up Bird, though I do own the latter and will start it soon
>ape John Green-tier prose and romantic development for the first half
>throw in dreamlike scenarios separating the lovers in the second half
You're making the novel sound better than it is. Though I guess having Col. Sanders/ Johnnie Walker as BOB is an interesting touch on Murakami's part
>I'm reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki right now and I think it's very insightful and relatable
Jesus, man, CTT is just shitty simile after shitty simile. All the weak ass comparisons acted as minor speedbumps when I read it, because of how bothersome it was to get through the pockets of exceptionally bad writing. The hardcover looks nice as fuck though, so I'm glad I own it
To be fair, Nisio Isin would be a fantastic writer if he wasn't marketing his shit for Japanese teens. He can be pretty pomo at times, but he ruins it with those generic observations first-person LN narrators always make. I'm basing this more on Zaregoto vol1, which I'm currently reading, than Kizumonogatari which is in the mail
I've only read Kafka on the Shore. I love novels with great imagery so i loved the weird and dreamlike sequences (that book has quite a few). But don't expect anything too profound lol. In fact, the name of the book is rather pretentious.